BishopAccountability.org
 
  Catholic Pastor Resigns over Internet Pornography Charges

By Joe Mandak
Associated Press State & Local Wire
October 9, 2003

A Roman Catholic priest has resigned as pastor of a Huntingdon County parish and has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge that he downloaded child pornography from the Internet, according to church officials and federal court records.

The Rev. Elwood F. Figurelle, 70, pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Mount Union since 1995, resigned effective Wednesday, according to a statement released Thursday by Bishop Joseph V. Adamec, who heads the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Adamec said that no youths from Figurelle's church or the diocese were victimized by Figurelle's actions.

"As far as we know, there are no victims involved in this case, other than those victimized by the Internet itself," Adamec said.

Figurelle has been on leave since March 20, according to Adamec. That's when the FBI searched Figurelle's rectory and seized a computer on which the obscene images were found, officials said.

Figurelle is charged with one count of taking or receiving obscene materials, specifically "multiple images of nude adult and minor males and females engaged in sexual acts and in various states of sexual arousal and gratification which were accessed and stored on computers" by the priest, court papers said.

Diocesan spokeswoman Sister Mary Parks said Adamec didn't release a statement about the case sooner because church officials were instructed not to do so by investigators.

Adamec didn't address the charges in the statement released Thursday, saying he hadn't seen a copy of the complaint against Figurelle.

"It is truly tragic that sexual and physical abuse of minors continues to occur," Adamec said in the statement. "It is deplorable when that occurs at the hands of priests within the Roman Catholic Church. The diocesan church does not take such allegations lightly."

Adamec said he and his staff have cooperated with the investigation. Figurelle will remain on administrative leave until his court case is finished.

"His future status will be determined at that time," Adamec said.

Figurelle didn't immediately return a call for comment Thursday, nor did his attorney, P. Alan Zulick of Norristown. Records with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania indicate a guilty plea agreement has been filed in the case.

Federal prosecutors didn't immediately return calls for comment or details of that agreement on Thursday.

The charge carries up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, although under federal sentencing guidelines a lesser sentence is likely since Figurelle is not known to have a criminal record.

 
 

Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems